Last year we reported the case of 16 year-old Ethan Couch who had mowed down a group of pedestrians after drinking so much alcohol that he had a blood alcohol level of .24%, three times the amount required for an adult to be arrested for DUI. He also was found to be under the influence of Valium at the time.
The law in Texas makes it a crime for a minor to drive with any level of alcohol in his/her blood. The young man showed no remorse for the four people he had killed and the two who survived with serious injuries, one being paralyzed. It was reported that at the time of his arrest he was surly and uncooperative with officers as well.
In court, his attorney defended him by telling the judge that he had never been required to take responsibility for his actions and that his parents had been allowing him to flout the law since he was 13 years-old — when they first allowed him to drive. Due to this, the attorney argued it was really not his fault that he had behaved so badly and that he should not now be asked to take responsibility for his actions in this case.
It was the kind of defense that no judge would ever accept. Unfortunately, District Judge Jean Boyd bought the argument and sentenced Couch to 10 years of probation along with ordering him to undergo rehab.
The case caused an uproar, especially since it was revealed that in 2012, the judge sentenced a 14 year-old black youth to 10 years in prison for striking a man who fell and struck his head on the pavement and later died.
At the time of Couch’s sentencing on his guilty plea for intoxicated manslaughter, the judge had not ruled on the charges pending against him involving intoxicated assault on the two surviving victims. When he appeared in court on those charges this week the prosecutor once more asked for prison time on those charges.
The judge refused to even consider the case of the two survivors separately and ruled that there would be no prison time, instead she ordered that he be sent to a locked rehab. It would appear that the only punishment will be that he doesn’t get to go to the country club like rehab his parents had agreed to pay for in California, to the tune of $450,000.
Watch a report about the story, courtesy of CNN: